Bruce Prichard Says This WWE Hall Of Famer Was In Danger Of Being Cut

Vince McMahon has long had an interest in "legitimate" athletes crossing over into professional wrestling. A few years before Kurt Angle would set the high water mark in this department, the WWE took a massive gamble on Olympic powerlifter Mark Henry, signing the untrained strongman to a 10-year deal said to be worth around $250,000 a year. On "Something to Wrestle," a listener asked Bruce Prichard about a rumor that Henry was encumbered with outrageous gimmicks during the Attitude Era in an effort to get Henry to quit, allowing WWE to avoid paying his contract. Prichard vehemently denied the allegation.

"Mark was very entertaining," Prichard said. "Mark was good at the shocking stuff. Mark was great at those things. His reactions, his acting skills, his chops were tremendous. Punished him by getting him over? That's a hell of a punishment." Henry would go on to become a WWE Hall of Famer, but his early years looked uncertain, with rumor that training was not going as smoothly as WWE would've liked. Prichard did admit there was a time WWE attempted to get out of Henry's deal, but Prichard said it was handled differently. 

"There was a time when we did want to get out [of Mark's contract] but I'll tell you how we did it," Prichard said. "We called Mark ... up to Connecticut and told him: we don't think you're cutting it. And if you don't want to be here, leave. But if you want to be here, you need to work harder, and you need to improve on this, and you need to improve on that. Otherwise, we are going to cut ties." WWE's latest foray into signing an Olympic athlete was not as successful as Henry, as the company ultimately released 2020 freestyle wrestling gold medalist Gable Steveson.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Something to Wrestle" and provide a h/t to Rllegends for the transcription.

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